School District 51 is in the home stretch of the 2020-21 school year, but there has been a noticeable uptick in COVID-19 quarantines.

According to the District 51 data dashboard, 396 students are in quarantine because of COVID-19 as of April 29, the most recent data available.

That’s by far the highest mark of the semester and more than double the 154 mark from April 22. Confirmed positive cases among students have also increased from 34 to 38 in that time span.

In her weekly letter to the District 51 community, Superintendent Diana Sirko briefly touched on the uptick.

“We are seeing more and more COVID cases in schools, particularly at the elementary level, with a quicker onset of symptoms,” Sirko wrote. “Masks are still required in schools as they have been all year. Please stay home if you’re not feeling well, get tested, and help us all finish this school year well.”

Fourteen staff members are also quarantined, with 11 testing positive, according to the data dashboard. Both figures are three more than on April 22.

This comes on the heels of Shelledy Elementary and Rocky Mountain Elementary schools experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks. Shelledy moved to virtual learning because of its cases.

Elsewhere in her letter, Sirko acknowledged that May 3-7 is teacher and substitute appreciation week, plugging in the district’s need for more substitute teachers.

“Your teachers have demonstrated their dedication and drive more than ever this past year, and substitutes have answered the call time and time again to cover classes when quarantine, illness, or other factors came into play,” Sirko wrote. “If you are able, please consider becoming a substitute — we need many more subs in a variety of fields.”

If interested in applying, visit d51schools.org/employment/substitute_information.

Finally, Sirko wrote that the district is looking for feedback on the current school calendar. More information can be found on the District 51 website.

ON THE AGENDA

The Board of Education is slated to discuss a possible project Tuesday on Central High School.

There was a point where the board was going to include Central High on its forthcoming bond measure. The board opted to only focus on Grand Junction High School after the 2019 measure failed.

The board will also discuss COVID-19 relief funds and the district budget.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at R-5 High School. Masks are required.

The next opportunity for audience comment will be on May 18.